Bernard Hickey

Bernard Hickey embarrasses himself

Bernard Hickey speaking at Rotorua's Blue Baths.  03 November 2009 Daily Post photograph by Stephen Parker SUN 06Mar11 - NZH 26Mar11 -

Bernard Hickey / Daily Post photograph by Stephen Parker – NZ Herald

If you are going to be upheld as an expert in your field, and promoted as an economics correspondent, you must make sure you get the basics right.

Auckland Council has an official target of improving affordability in the world’s most liveable city to five times income by 2030.

The trouble is the Government has no credible strategy to get there. Under Key’s plan to slow it down, even to low single-digit rates, there would have to be an explosion in wage inflation.

Grimes is dead right. Improving affordability will require outright price falls and big ones. Read more »

Bob Jones continues to lambast useless journalists

Bob Jones is a national treasure and since he got the pip with the NZ Herald has been writing at NBR.

His latest column continues the theme of previous weeks of lambasting useless journalists, this week it is Bernard Hickey and Rod Oram.

He discusses his pet hates about real estate writers and advertisements, in particular a comment by Sally Lindsay about the port having a “footprint”.

I imagine many other NBR readers also on reading that ?footprint? outrage like me, collapsed into a coma.

An hour later I?d recovered enough to pull myself up on to my bed where after a further hour recovering I braved deeper into that NBR issue. Thank God I did so while lying on my bed, or more specifically, thank you Sally for putting me there, for reading further on I came to an article that had I been standing, might have killed me with shock. Even today I?m still a bit twitchy and having to take calming-down pills every hour. For, unbelievably, Bernard Hickey had created an all-time first and had contributed a positive article, its contents irrelevant to my point.

About four years ago I wrote a NZ Herald? column urging Bernard and Rod Oram,? now that pre-frontal lobotomies are discredited, to try a more time proven cheering-up remedy, and take on a mistress. Judging by his new happy-faced photo over his article, plus its hitherto unprecedented positive tone, it?s clear that like all converts, whether religious, political or what have you, Bernard has taken things to extremes and instead of following my moderate advice, has instead created a harem.

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Lindsay Mitchell schools silly old Bernard Hickey

Lindsay Mitchell is wise to media commentators like Bernard Hickey making shit up.

She schools the man who sold out of the Auckland market years ago stating it was at its peak and he was moving to Wellington.

According to Bernard Hickey, writing in today’s HOS:

New Zealand created 120,000 new jobs in the past two years, but the number of unemployed and underemployed rose.
How did that happen?

Essentially New Zealand imported a net 123,900 people to do those jobs.


Hickey has added together the net migration gain for the two years to March 2016. From Stats NZ:

Unadjusted figures showed a record net gain of 67,600 migrants in the March 2016 year.

The balance, 56,300 was the net figure for the previous year??? Read more »

Bernard Hickey might actually be proved right…in 2025

Bernard Hickey famously sold up in Auckland and moved to Wellington. For months, if not years, he had banged on about the pending housing crash in Auckland. So, he put his money where is his mouth was and decamped to Wellington?in 2012

This week I sold my house in Auckland to take advantage of the ‘heat’ in the market.

I’m looking to pay off the remainder of my mortgage and buy a house mortgage-free in Wellington.

This is my own personal deleveraging plan to reduce the risk of having debt and give me some more flexibility about how and when I work.

But it’s not what I ‘should’ be doing if I was responding to the incentives currently thrown in front of me by our tax system and banking system.

Ever since he has claimed that the housing market in Auckland will collapse…soon…apparently. Four years on he probably could have doubled his money had he stayed the course.

Now it turns out he might have been right all along.

Aucklanders are being warned their house prices are unsustainable?? but a crash is not expected until next decade.

The latest Quotable Value data shows the average value across the Auckland region was $925,656 last month. That is up from $526,659 at the end of 2010.

“The majority of New Zealanders do not have the income to service debts of that size,” said?economist Shamubeel Eaqub.

“Can you pay that off over your lifetime with an average household income of $80,000 a?year? Future homeowners are struggling to get a deposit together, let alone trying to repay the debt.?A lot of young people are coming into the age of home ownership with student loans.”

Auckland Council chief economist Chris Parker said such large increase in house prices?could accelerate boom-and-bust economic cycles.

“There is also the issue of social sustainability. There is increasing concern about the distribution of the stock of wealth. High house prices increase the wealth of those who already have wealth.”

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Hickey has a whinge about a city he no longer lives in

Bernard Hickey has gone for the jugular with his criticism of Auckland Council and baby boomers – aka NIMBY’s.

Auckland Council is reverting to the 2013 version of its Unitary Plan proposal, which will provide for just over 80,000 new homes by 2040.

This is despite expert working advice that it needed to come up with a set of zoning maps to produce 280,000 houses within the enlarged Auckland Council boundaries.

Think about this for a second.

The council decided it preferred zoning rules that would leave Auckland 200,000 houses short of what it needed to accommodate up to a million extra people over the next 30 years or so.

This in a city that already has a shortage of 35,000-50,000 houses. Where housing is more expensive relative to incomes than in San Francisco, which is where the world’s richest billionaires are building the wealthiest companies in the history of the world in Facebook, Google and Apple.

It beggars belief that the governing body for New Zealand’s most economically and socially important city would fly in the face of pleas from those representing hundreds of thousands of today’s and tomorrow’s residents, ignore the Reserve Bank and the Productivity Commission and the ministers for housing and finance.

[…] ? Read more »

Has Shamubeel Eaqub become the new rent-a-quote?

Shamubeel Eaqub is making quite a name for himself, but he appears to be falling into Bernard Hickey’s trap…being all prophetic about things and then ending up dead wrong along the way.

Like Bernard Hickey he is fond of spouting off about housing and the media just lap it all up without cross-referencing his previous prognostications.

He recently came out firing at house prices saying?that we’ll see “housing apartheid”, “ghettoisation” and “landed gentry”.

Economist Shamubeel Eaqub says “housing apartheid” and “ghettoisation” looms unless there are changes to the New Zealand housing market.

His new book Generation Rent says New Zealand is being divided into a house-have and have-not society and says if house prices keep rising at expected rates, mortgage repayments will be more than the average income by 2023.

Read more »

The Bernard Hickey backflip

Time to break out the speedos – Bernard Hickey is lining up for a backflip.

This morning, the perennially unhappy Hickey is complaining the government isn?t doing enough to manage ?unprecedented net migration surge?.


Mixing his metaphors in a most unusual way, Bernard says the market is going up in flames, a property bonfire no less. Normally when things go up in flames it’s a destructive disaster, rather than an extended period of wealth gain for property owners. So allow me to translate.

In plain english, Bernard is unhappy that New Zealand, under many years of a National government, has become a very nice place to live by international standards. So much so, that people from around the world are choosing to sell up everything they own and move to NZ in greater numbers than expected. That?s actually quite a nice story when you think about, and is a nice problem to have. Besides, if people don?t like property prices going up, just wait and see how they feel when their own property prices go down rapidly due to a change of government and people start to leave.

Still, it?s a very pleasant about-face from years of Bernard Hickey complaining about the brain drain and why people are leaving NZ in unprecedented numbers.

It was only four short years ago that Mr Hickey was loudly warning of the catastrophe befalling Godzone?.. a hole no less.?

A hole has just quietly opened up in our population and our economy.

It is a hole that should make home builders, shop keepers, economists, politicians and the elderly voters behind them very nervous.It is a hole that could fill itself in or have to be filled artificially. But if this hole remains unfilled, New Zealand?s economy faces some ugly choices within the next 10 to 20 years.Demography expert Professor Natalie Jackson from Waikato University identified this population hole at a symposium for Chief Financial Officers this week in Auckland.

Maybe the hole could be filled with water for Bernard to backflip into.

Why Are Taxpayers Paying For Middle Class Troughing Children?

Everyone knows that people in their 50’s and 60’s are minted. ?Bernard Hickey is right in one way, they’ve milked housing booms and obtained free education and do not have costs that the rest of us have. ?The best news for them is that even if they are down to their last million in net assets, their lives haven’t got that long to go. ?They are not poor or downtrodden at all.

In the UK there has been a newly termed “super boomer” to describe them.

While I?m not hard-done-to, this is hardly the ?Superboomer? dream we?ve been sold. A new report this week claimed that my generation – the over-50s, born after World War II – are care-free, cash-rich, and keen to hang on to our youthful vigour.

So right on cue a whinging celebrity elder complaining that she’s broke.

Yet this has come at a huge price ? one I and my fellow superboomers are still paying.

For ours is the first generation of parents whose children aren?t advancing and doing better than we did ? and, as a result, our time and resources are being wholeheartedly directed into helping them.

While our parents may have been well shot of us by the time they reached their 50s and 60s, we were the first generation for whom marrying and producing children in your 20s was no longer de rigeur.

We built our own careers, and embarked on families in our 30s and 40s, with the result that we still have dependants when we are almost in our dotage.

My sons, Ed, now 31, and Charlie, 27, were born in the 80s and, as a result, when the time came for them to go to university, they – or, more accurately, my husband and I – were hit by unexpected student tuition fees.

The crux of the middle class problems of the world – these silly parents are paying for their loser kids. ?These kids are not babies they are adults in professional jobs who went to University. ?The kids are milking their parents nest eggs. ?Which no one should care less about really but the net result is these families are demanding taxpayer assistance from the rest of us. ?It is a revolution that is currently taking place all around the world.

Silly women sitting in cafes talking about how terrible it is that their underachieving middle class University educated children cannot buy a home. ?You don’t see this happening with kids who left school and started saving to buy their own home while they trained as plumbers or electricians do you?

Every time my friend Sal and I go out for a bite to eat or a drink together, the conversation revolves around how we can release some cash to help the kids on to the property ladder.

So many of my friends are thinking of selling those expensive family homes that are the envy of younger generations, down-sizing to poky flats, and giving their children the money for a deposit from the proceeds.

This sort of behaviour is going on all around New Zealand right now. ?Especially in Auckland. ?It is not among the poor in New Zealand who don’t actually have homes to leverage to help their kids it is in the ridiculous middle classes who are demanding their kids be helped to buy homes with cash from the taxes of the rest of us who haven’t got Mummy and Daddy to dribble off.

When you bid for a home at an auction these days you do not bid against another adult buyer who has earned their money like you have, you bid against kiddies Eddie and Charlie’s age who have family assets to guarantee their ?loans or assist in paying deposits or worse still handing them interest free loans.

The above example from the UK is precisely why no taxpayer resources should ever be put into assisting middle class people, especially those who chose worthless University degrees as it was “something they loved to study” into owning their own home. ?Let their parents drain the family resources first before turning to people who do not have the same level of support in getting what they want in life.

“Housing affordability” is essentially a middle class problem. ?Poor people have not been able to buy a home in Auckland for decades. ?But suddenly the middle class cafe dwellers have found their little underachieving kiddies cannot live like they have, it is an election issue?

I think not.



Houses For Everyone!!! – The Continued Delusion of Bernard Hickey

Bernard Hickey has written some silly pieces on housing issues but this one in yesterday’s Herald on Sunday?ranks right up there as the worst.

Residents are fighting a plan by property tycoon Michael Friedlander and QC Marie Dyhrberg to remove eight villas in Ponsonby for more intensive development.

The Herald journalists recently ran a story about this

Mr Thorby has made a submission opposing Ms Dyhrberg proposal for possible commercial development on the site of five villas she owns, but says the lawyer is a friend and does not want to speak publicly

Through these companies, Mr Friedlander wants 2 Franklin Rd and 2 Arthur St, which includes Ponsonby Backpackers in a large villa with its distinctive turret, changed from a residential to a town centre zone due to the sites’ proximity to Ponsonby Rd.

Michael Friedlander doesn’t want to even build more housing for rich people he wants to commercially zone the area. He’s a ruthless heavy-handed style billionaire businessman who quite frankly doesn’t give a shit about heritage, trees or locals. That’s how he’s got rich.

Marie Dyhrberg, defence lawyer to the hapless idiot Teina Pora when he was put in the clink, wishes to knock down five villas?and build commercial property that?will no doubt sell for more than $1.5m. In the area a modest weatherboard home has recently gone for $1.25m at auction.

Neither of these examples from Hickey will contribute one bit to young and poor people buying their first home. ? Read more »

How the Aussies view our economy…with jealousy

Michael Pascoe writes about the NZ economy in the Sydney Morning Herald.

It?s bad enough losing the rugby, but in 2014 Australians will have to suffer Kiwis getting uppity about their economy as well.

While our economic growth is stuck around 2.5 per cent, there?s talk New Zealand could be doing double that by the middle of the year.

For so long the poor cousins across the ditch, it?s the Kiwis? turn to ride the China resources roller coaster, with all the fun and fear that can engender. The commodity is different but the fundamental story is much the same as the China boom that lifted Australia over the past decade.

What iron ore and coking coal did for Oz, milk powder is doing for New Zealand. Forget the clich?s about New Zealanders and sheep ? it?s cows that are making Kiwis feel good now, as well as the All Blacks having an undefeated year.

And they are feeling good. An ANZ bank survey this month found NZ businesses the most confident they?ve been since 1994. House prices and wages are rising and consumers are spending more ? the government is expecting consumption growth of 2.8 per cent while Australia struggles to manage 2 per cent.

New Zealand?s terms of trade are at their highest since 1974, giving the average Kiwi sharply stronger buying power. It?s not so expensive for Kiwis to visit the relatives in Australia ? but the land of the strangled dipthong is no longer a cheap holiday for Australians. The Kiwi dollar started the year above $1.26 to the Aussie. It?s finishing at $1.09.

Milk powder prices are up by more than 50 per cent this year and China has overtaken Australia as New Zealand?s biggest trading partner. Fonterra, the world?s biggest dairy exporter, can?t keep up with the demand and?finds itself caught by its cheese and butter operations holding back overall performance.

The impact of Chinese demand for milk solids is also behind the never-ending Warrnambool Cheese and Butter takeover saga. It must sadden those who saw productive Victorian dairy farms turned over to tax-driven blue gum plantations.

Its all about protein…and we are best at producing it, whether it is in milk or meat. Pascoe trips up though and quotes Bernard hickey who is more often wrong than right in his prognostications.

But the extent of New Zealand?s reliance on a single commodity and a single customer worries some. New Zealand Herald commentator Bernard Hickey?makes the point that the country?s second-largest trade partner, Australia, also is reliant on China?and that Kiwis carry much more debt than when they last depended on a single market ? England. He didn?t use the term ?Dutch Disease?, but it was there between the lines.

Just as China has encouraged a greater diversity of iron ore sources, it can be expected not to rely indefinitely on NZ. The Middle Kingdom also desires to increase and improve its own dairy capacity, but faces water limitations for what is a very water-intensive industry. (That?s why those soggy Kiwis are so good at it, despite suffering what they thought was a drought last year.)

In the meantime, the $NZ40 billion rebuilding of Christchurch will provide its own increasing stimulus for the NZ economy. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is expected to start increasing interest rates in 2014. It?s already attempting to cool the housing market through macro prudential means ? a move the Reserve Bank of Australia admits it?s watching with interest. And rising rates should further support the Kiwi dollar.

While our Treasury forecasts Australia?s unemployment will nudge up to 6.25 per cent, New Zealand?s is 6.2 and falling from a high of 7.3 last year, twin factors that can be expected to reduce the usual migration flow. Australia has done well out of its Kiwi migrants. Given the direction of the New Zealand currency, we might have left it a wee bit late to stock up on five-eighths and sauvignon blanc.

Yet there?s always a silver lining. The last time Kiwis were this chipper was 1994 ? when the Wallabies won the Bledisloe Cup with ?that tackle? by George Gregan. Maybe a richer New Zealand also is a softer one.